Following the spread of COVID-19 in Northern New York

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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New York's North Country is starting to see cases of COVID-19 pop up in the region but health officials and local leaders say they are taking all precautionary measures needed. Our Kelly O'Brien takes a closer look at how they're trying to protect people.

Essex County and Clinton County both have positive cases. They say they have a number of tests they are monitoring and have those people self-quarantined to be safe.

They are encouraging people to stay home and avoid face-to-face contact, and the city is taking measures to follow safety protocol

Health officials in Essex County and Clinton County gathered on Wednesday to give an update on COVID-19. They both have only one confirmed case but are monitoring several others.

"I have five people in precautionary quarantine, I have 14 in mandatory quarantine, one person in isolation and I have one positive case," said Linda Beers of the Essex County Health Department.

Clinton Country says they are waiting for 35 pending tests at this moment. Timing for test results can range from one day to five days.

"Depending on where that test is sent and what's available at that time, it's literally changing daily," said David Clauss of the Elizabethtown Community Hospital.

Health departments are not releasing information on the positive patients or how they came into contact with the virus, but they are reaching out to anyone who had close contact with the patients.

"Please know that we are confident that we are protecting the public to the extent that the public needs to be protected at this time," said Erin Streiff of the Clinton County Health Department.

Nationwide we are seeing shortages of testing kits and personal protection gear. Both counties are asking for more to be sent in.

"Everyone is still waiting for better and more bountiful and quicker testing and supplies," said Sylvia Getman of Adirondack Health.

They say the best way to stay safe is by staying indoors, practicing social distance and washing your hands.

Plattsburgh City Hall is shutting down to practice safety protocols but staff will be working online from home. Local first responders are also following these guidelines by being on call 24/7 but keeping the station as bare as possible.

"Our only goal here is to try to reduce face-to-face contact because that obviously is the way that this virus spreads and without reducing public safety in any way," said Mayor Colin Read, D-Plattsburgh.

This crisis is already hurting the local economy. A representative from the Essex County Board of Supervisors said in a report it is projected the Adirondacks will lose a minimum of $44 million in revenue over the summer months.

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